Mum and new baby face Christmas eviction after DWP perverts burden of proof

The Department for Work and Pensions office in London.

The DWP is claiming that Ms Madonia is lying about not receiving a letter because there is no evidence to show that it didn’t arrive.

This is a perversion of logic, and one of the occasions in which the claim that “you cannot prove a negative” in fact rings true.

If a person did not receive a letter, having had no reason to expect it, then it is illogical to expect them to provide proof that they didn’t have it. What are they supposed to offer?

On the contrary, the burden should be on the DWP to provide firm evidence that the letter was written, posted and delivered.

Where is that evidence? Without it, Ms Madonia’s claim cannot be disputed.

A disabled woman with a new baby is set to be evicted a fortnight before Christmas because the Department for Work and Pensions stopped her benefits when she failed to attend a “fitness for work” test she had not been told about.

Jacqui Madonia was left “in despair” as she was told to survive on one foodbank voucher a week, a single hardship payment of £80, and the “occasional tenner here and there” from her family.

The assessment was supposed to take place just 13 days after Madonia gave birth to her second son Edward by caesarean on 4 July at Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

The former civil servant told the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in an employment and support allowance (ESA) questionnaire that she was due to give birth by caesarean before she went into hospital.

But she received a letter sent on 18 July which asked her why she had failed to attend a work capability assessment (WCA) the previous day.

She explained that she had not been told – either by letter or by text – about the appointment, but then received a further letter saying that her ESA had been removed because it “can be assumed [the letter]was delivered as there was no evidence to the contrary”.

Source: Mum and new baby face Christmas eviction after WCA ‘nightmare’


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6 thoughts on “Mum and new baby face Christmas eviction after DWP perverts burden of proof

  1. Princess Layla

    This argument is covered by the interpretation act which essentially says that if you say you posted it then you posted it.
    But how would the DWP respond if a claimant says they posted it and the DWP are claiming they never received it.
    Whats good for the goose etc.

  2. Barry Davies

    As you said it seems that the DWP has this incorrect assumption that is never makes a mistake, when the truth is quite the opposite it frequently gets things wrong.

  3. Jeffrey Davies

    this is why we sar asking even for the written and telephone ontop of your esa info it proves they lie when saying letters sent oh dear the dwp tell the truth

  4. Jim

    Sadly this is standard policy with the DWP.
    When this happened to me a few years ago I only received the letter stating that I’d missed an appointment. I of course was on the phone right away and got given the same ‘can you provide evidence that you didn’t receive the first letter’ line. The conversation went on in circles for a few minutes until the DWP employee asked if I’d not received a letter before, which is a bit of an odd question as how would I know?
    I persisted in stating that sort of question is ridiculous and in the end they backed down.
    The DWP did say (though not in these words) that some people claim this not receiving a letter thing to get out of missing an appointment. Everyone is being dishonest from there point of view.

  5. Andrew

    I had the same problem several years ago. I also requested proof it was sent out to me (this was never given). In addition, the DWP had been advised in all communications from me, that if it was to send any written documents to me, to do this by registered post., due to problems with mail.

    I appealed this case and won the appeal after a 5 minute hearing.

    Also, I would like to add, when you mail something to the DWP and they say they never received it, you have to provide proof that you actually mailed it to them. Double standards.

  6. dean stockton

    Let them show evidence she did receive it? The burden of proof lies on the DWP to prove she did receive the letter, not the other way round. Can they supply proof of postage? Can they supply proof of receipt?
    NO they cannot so all back payments should be paid along with compensation, a very large amount. Then they should send the letter again, recorded, giving her 7 clear days notice.

Comments are closed.